A Journey towards the Excellence
Teaching of Botany and Zoology separately at Undergraduate level was start in 1962. The Department of Botany progressed under the dynamic leadership of Dr. R.P. Shivhare followed by Prof. Vijay Shankar and Prof. P. Kaushik. However, there was no Post Graduate course neither in Botany nor in Zoology Department. Therefore, both the Department independently submitted proposals to University Grants Commission (UGC), New Delhi to start Postgraduate courses in the above two subjects. In 1984, a high power Committee of VI Plan of the UGC visited the University. Instead of recommending M.Sc. Botany and Zoology subjects, the UGC Committee recommended to start M.Sc. Microbiology by involving the faculties of these two Departments. The committee also sanctioned two posts (one Professor and one Reader) to each of the Department to be coordinated alternatively by the Heads of both Botany and Zoology Departments. Prof. Vijay Shankar, the then Head of the Botany Department, took over the charge as the Director of Microbiology to coordinate the subject. Prof. D. K. Maheshwari joined the Department in 1990 and took over the charge as the Head of the Department. In 1990 after the retirement of Prof. Vijay Shankar, Prof. B.D. Joshi took over the charge as Coordinator of Microbiology. Furthermore, the first meeting of Research Degree Committee (RDC) in Botany was held on 02 November, 1988. In 1992, permission was granted for Ph.D. programme in Microbiology, and the first RDC in microbiology was held on 26 January, 1993. In 1994, UGC granted permission to Department of Botany for starting a new course i.e. B.Sc. Industrial Microbiology as vocational course for five years. After completion of its tenure of five years, the Department conceived it as a regular course similar to B.Sc. Biology group.
Further, the subject Microbiology got nurtured by the faculties of both the Department namely, Prof. B.D. Joshi, Prof. D.K. Maheshwari, Dr. T.R. Seth, Prof. P. Kaushik, A.K. Chopra, Prof. Dinesh Bhatt, Prof. G.P. Gupta, Prof. D.R. Khanna and Dr. Navneet. In 1996, Prof. R.C. Dubey joined the team. The faculty members of both the Departments acted as the spokes of a wheel to provide momentum to the growth and development of Microbiology. In 1996, M.Sc. Environmental Science was started under the Department of Zoology.
In 1998, with the consensus of the faculty members of both the Departments, M.Sc. Microbiology was shifted to the Department of Botany. Since then this Department is known as the Department of Botany and Microbiology. In 2004, the Department was supported by FIST programme of the Department of Science and Technology (DST), Govt. of India (New Delhi). The courses run in the Department are: B.Sc. (Botany), B.Sc. (Industrial Microbiology) and M.Sc. (Microbiology). At present there are sixteen research scholars in the Department working for Ph.D. in Botany and Microbiology and seventy student of M.Sc. Microbiology respectively.
At present the Department is in its fully grown stage having well equipped research laboratories with all modern facilities such as PCR, Gel documentation system electrophoresis, UV visible spectrophotometer, HPLC, Gas chromatography, Fermentors, Lyophilizer, Olympus microscopes, Deep freezer (-20°C), etc. sponsored by different funding agencies. The Department is also having a separate AC Seminar Hall with LCD facility and a Departmental Library besides all basic facilities.
So far, the Department has successfully organized 10 seminar/conferences/workshops. Seventeen research projects have been run in the Department for the last two decades and 01 major research project is in progress. Teachers of the Department have visited various institutions in India and abroad. The Department has great research potential. The results of the Department have always been almost on the top in the University. The Department is proud of its students who have always excellent both at the University level and at various competitive examinations. A number of students of this Department have been selected in Central Services, Indian Forest Services, Universities, CSIR and ICAR research labs, DRDO labs, pharmaceutical concerns and microbiological industries.
The faculty members are pursuing basic and modern research right from exploring biomolecules in drugs plants to DNA fingerprinting of important groups of microorganisms. Research activities in the Department in various areas are going on such as aero microbiology, microbiology of indigenous drugs plants, mycorrhizal symbiosis, mycorrhization helper bacteria, antimicrobial activity, botanical pesticides, biofertilizers and biopesticides. Thrust areas of research are bioinoculant characterization, formulation, production and evaluation for sustainable agriculture.